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LeBron James: 'It would be great' to play for Team USA in 2016 Rio Olympics

By Ben Golliver | Blogger
LeBron James sounds ready to return for Team USA in 2016. (Getty Images)

Might as well make it three.

That's the thinking for Miami Heat forward LeBron James, who said Sunday that he plans to return for USA Basketball and participate in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where he can chase his third gold medal.

The Associated Press reports that James made the comments in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, where he was attending a minor league baseball game.

James told the Associated Press he would like to play in a fourth Olympics. He has not yet informed USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo of his intentions, but the 27-year-old said he'd like to step inside the five rings one more time.

"We haven't had that conversation," James said. "But if I'm healthy, I did the math and I'll be 31, and if I have the opportunity to be out there, I will do it. I love it. I love being a part of it and representing my country. I don't know what may happen in four years, but it would be great to be back out there again. Definitely."

For comparison's sake, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant competed this summer at the age of 33.

James previously won gold medals in 2008 in Beijing and this summer in London. He also won a bronze medal in 2004 in Athens. In case you're counting, a third gold medal would put James one up on both Michael Jordan and Bryant, assuming Bryant doesn't return in 2016.

James' current contract runs through the 2015-16 season, although James has an early termination option following both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.

What would a 2016 USA Basketball roster look like?

Aside from James, other 2012 veterans like Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler could be in the mix. More likely, some of those players would depart and 2012 youngsters Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Anthony Davis and James Harden would carry the bulk of the weight.

Eric Gordon was one of the final players cut from the 2012 squad, which would seemingly put him in prime position to make the 2016 team. USA Select member Kyrie Irving already looks like a shoe-in and other Select members like John Wall, Derrick Favors, Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins would seem to have an outside shot, depending on how many spots open up. Of course, there's also a lengthy list of injury scratches from this go-around who could still compete in 2016: Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, Chris Bosh, and LaMarcus Aldridge, to name a few.

 
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